Thursday, 5 April 2012

I'se the Buble...

This week has been a busy week leading up to Passover. That sounds like an odd statement coming from somone who is baptised Catholic but once thought he was Muslim but then realised the "no wine" thing was just not going to work out so instead does the doesn't-eat-pork-thing. Nonetheless, the store is in the heart of a community that doesn't eat pork either (one of my staff put up a "pairs well with ham!" sign by a Kosher Riesling, but it took a Gentile to notice), which means Rosh Hashanah, Hannukah, and Passover are particularly busy for our little shop. As such, my little shop has a surprisingly big Israeli/Kosher wine section, which is about as big as the Portuguese area. This keeps our Kosher consumers content, and I always like to look for what's new to the limited selection of Kosher products in the province.

My most recent addition is one that is, quite easily, the most random wine I have ever come across. As you can guess, Kosher wines are a specialty of Israel, but we also carry decent examples from France, Argentina, and Chile.  I even had a Kosher Pinot Noir while in the Rheingau (Germany). That particular wine impressed me that Kosher wine can indeed be made anywhere, but this recent wine takes the cake: the Rodrigues Kosher Blueberry Wine from.......Newfoundland.

Newfoundland? Funny thing (an expression none too overused when refering to anything pertaining to The Rock) is that I recall hearing that my grandfather used to either make or drink fruit-based wines from the barren terroir that is Newfoundland; that I had a wine made from blueberries is not too surprising. Actually, it's rather like a simple, juicy merlot: thick skins similar to those of grapes give blueberry wines a decent tannin structure.  But Kosher? In Newfoundland? And what's with the Iberian nomenclature? Apparently, the 's' at the end of Rodrigues (as opposed to a 'z') indicates Jewish heritage; a sort of Rodrigostein of Spain or Rodrigoberg of Portugal. If there was ever a society in Canada to declare itself distinct, I think the Hispanic Jews of Newfoundland damn well earn their right to do so.

Although I have only once been to Newfoundland (ancestral home to my dad's family), I don't recall much of a Jewish-thing going on there. I would imagine that kitchen party would be pretty unique; an  I'se the B'ye meets Nagila Hava as patrons kiss the gefilte cod.

And here's the fun part: in 2001, Rodrigues Winery became the first winery in Canada to gain the OUD international standard of Kosher for Passover.

Passover the Blueberry Wine indeed....followed by a chaser of Screech. Li Khaim, b'ye!

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